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Top Baby Names of 2011
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In 2009, we predicted vampire mania, feminine names and classic monikers to chart the course of 2010 baby naming trends. Read on to discover what our users searched for most -- and what we predict for 2011.
The appeal of the top names of 2009, Aiden (Irish, fiery) and Ella (English, beautiful fairy), continued through 2010. Aiden remained first for boys, while the girl's name Sookie (American, unknown) usurped Ella's position, knocking Ella to second place. Ella has a timeless, elegant flair, but it looks like readers are favoring quirkier names for girls.
Still in the top ten for boys: Wmffre (pronounced OOM-fre, German, variation of Humphrey, peaceful)! We, too, can't get enough of this unique name, which was 2009's reigning champ for boys, but users are now skewing towards names that are easier to pronounce.
In 2009 we predicted Genevieve (French, German, white wave), the seventh top name, would become the "it" girl's name, and we were right: In 2010, the name moved up to fifth place. The name has quirk, class and elegance all at once -- and we predict that it will take the top spot in 2011.
- Tony Moorey for Wikipedia (CC Licensed)
For boys' names, one of our 2010 predictions was a move towards classic Irish and English names, like Liam (Irish, short for "William"), Avery (English, elf counselor) and Aiden (Irish, fiery). All three ranked high in 2010, with Aiden at #1, Liam at #4 (up from fifth last year) and Avery maintaining its #8 rank.
We see this trend continuing through 2011, thanks to the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Liam, a nickname for William (English, German, protector), already ranks high, while William made the top 100 overall at 91. Kate (English, short for "Katherine", pure) is currently ranked at 33, while the princess-to-be's formal name, Catherine (Greek, pure), is at 194.
In 2010, celebs dusted off elegant, ultra-feminine names for their daughters: Jennifer Garner's Seraphina (Hebrew, burning, winged angel), Jude Law's Sophia (Greek, wise), Sarah Michelle Gellar's Charlotte (English, strong) Grace (Latin, graceful). Similar names populated the top-50 list for girls, including Emma (German, universal), Olivia (Latin, olive tree), Ella (English, beautiful fairy), Ava (German, form of Eve), and Lorelei (German, seductress).
Unisex names, like Riley (Irish, valiant), Rory (Irish, famous brillance), Jayden (Hebrew, God has heard) and Avery (English, elf counselor), top the lists for both boys and girls. We love the cool vibe of these gender-bending names, and predict the trend's continuing in 2011.
Are you sick of True Blood and Twilight madness? Our readers definitely weren't, as they still looked to vampire lore for baby name inspiration throughout 2010: Sookie (American, unknown), also the main character in True Blood, took the top girl's spot. Twilight's Isabella (Italian, God's oath) and Jacob (Hebrew, supplanter, substitute), perennial faves on the Social Security list, also ruled our readers' searches.
Although the vampire name trend enjoyed wild popularity in 2009 and 2010, it will wane in 2011, as the Twilight movie franchise wraps up.
Social Security Top Picks
Though many readers dabbled with quirky, funky baby names (Navajo, Fable, Beach, Wmffre and Music were all in the top 100), some stuck with the classics. Names like Jacob (Hebrew, supplanter, substitute), Emma (German, universal), Sophia (Greek, wise), Ethan (Hebrew, strong, firm) and Olivia (Latin, olive tree) all hold timeless appeal, and were ranked in 2010 as top boys' and girls' names in the Social Security Administration's baby names registry.
Readers also searched for other conventionally popular names, like Jennifer (Welsh, white wave), Sarah (Hebrew, princess), Claire (Latin, Irish, clean, Irish place name), Emily (Latin, industrious), Elizabeth (Hebrew, God's oath), Michael (Hebrew, who is like God), Matthew (Hebrew, gift of God) and John (Hebrew, God is gracious).
Oldies but Goodies
Other parents-to-be looked to the past for inspiration -- particularly to names on our "Grandparents' Names That Are Cool Again" list. Max (Latin, short for Maximillian, Maxwell), Abigail (Hebrew, Father's joy), Millie (English, short for Millicent, Amelia, Camilla, Mildred) and Ellie (English, short for Eleanor, Ellen, Elaine) were among the top 100, and Abigail was also in the top 10 Social Security baby names list for girls. Celebs have embraced this trend as well, with Christina Aguilera and J.Lo each naming their sons Max. We see this trend lasting through 2011.
Cool, But Not-Too-Weird Boys' Names
An emerging trend we found for boys' names in 2010 was a search for cool, slightly offbeat names, like Connor (Scottish, wise), Logan (Irish, meadow), Dylan (Welsh, sea), Caleb (Hebrew, faithful) and Mason (French, stone worker). The names aren't as prevalent as classics like Michael (Hebrew, who is like God) or Jacob (Hebrew, supplanter, substitute), but they're quickly rising in favor. We think these will be new classics for 2011 and beyond.
- Senorgiory for Flickr (CC Licensed)
Whatever your political leanings, the First Family names are still high in favor. Barack (Hebrew, lightening bolt) was knocked down only a few notches from rank 37 in 2009 to its current place at 46 for boys, while Sasha (Russian, nickname for Alexander or Alexandra) is still favored for girls, ranked 26th (it ranked 16 in 2009). Michelle (French, who is like God) was less popular, at 258, and Malia (Hawaiian, Spanish, peaceful, variation of Maria) checked in at 1,818.
In 2009 celebs set the ultra-feminine girls' name trend, but 2010 saw no similar theme. John Travolta and Kelly Preston picked conventional but classic Benjamin (Hebrew, son of my right hand) for their new son. Matt Damon and wife Luciana chose the spirited name Stella (Latin, star) for their fourth daughter. Celine Dion named her twins Eddy and Nelson (English, son of Neil), Eddy for one of Dion's record producers and Nelson for former South African leader Nelson Mandela. Alicia Keys looked beyond the common naming conventions and christened her son Egypt.
One emerging trend for 2011: Harper (English, harpist) as the new "it" celeb baby name. Both Tiffani Amber-Thiessen and Neil Patrick Harris used it for their kids. Harris even tied the name with the feminine trend, finishing Harper with the middle name Grace (Latin, graceful).
Top-Searched Baby Names for Boys
- Aiden (Irish, fiery)
- Max (Latin, short for Maximillian, Maxwell)
- Liam (Irish, short for William)
- Jayden (Hebrew, God has heard)
- Wmffre (pronounced OOM-fre, German, variation of Humphrey, peaceful)
- Jacob (Hebrew, supplanter, substitute)
- Jack (American, nickname for John or Jacob)
- Avery (English, elf counselor)
- Riley (Irish, valiant)
- Ethan (Hebrew, strong, firm)
- Getty Images
Top-Searched Baby Names for Girls
- Sookie (American, unknown)
- Ella (English, beautiful fairy)
- Genevieve (French, German, white wave)
- Ava (German, form of Eve)
- Isabella (Italian, God's oath)
- Emma (German, universal)
- Ellie (English, short for Eleanor, Ellen, Elaine)
- Olivia (Latin, olive tree)
- Charlotte (English, strong)
- Grace (Latin, graceful)